There are thousands of sources for free photos and images, but a lot of times, there's a catch. You can't use the photo for commercial purposes. Or on the web. Or without a live link back to the photo. Or without agreeing to a convoluted here's-what-you-can-do-and-here's-what-you-can't license agreement. Even the so-called Creative Commons licenses for images are enough to make a lawyer's head spin. So where to get really free and really easy photos for use on a commercial website like eHow, or for your own website or blog? Here's how.
**Ask Uncle Sam**
Any materials produced by the federal government -- reports, photographs, artwork, illustrations, you name it -- are public property, and freely available for anyone to use.
There are literally millions of photos available from the feds. You'd be amazed at the variety and quality. Space photos from NASA. Nature photography from the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service. Pictures of money from the US Mint. Historical images from the Library of Congress.
USA.gov keeps a good list of photos that, as they put it, "may be used and reproduced without permission or fee." See Resources, below for a direct link.
One caution, though. Government websites occasionally reproduce images from non-government sources, and when they do, these are clearly marked as protected by copyright, so don't make use of them.
**Go Back in Time**
In the US, any image that dates before 1923 is in the public domain. That is, it is no longer copyrighted, and free for anyone to use, for any reason.
A site called fromoldbooks.org has a beautiful collection of such images, and is especially rich in old-timey holiday pictures.
**Check Out Sunipix**
Sunipix.com is a site offering free stock photography for personal or commercial use. They have a good collection. They also have a refreshingly simple FAQs page that says, in effect, you can use our pictures on your websites. It would be wonderful if you give us this attribution: "Photo courtesy: Sunipix.com"